Fatigue creeps up on you like irrationality. Life rolls on greased steel wheels, months pass, and every cog seems to fit into its mate in the most rational way. It's enough to lure anyone into a sense of security as false as a hockey player's incisors. And then, all of a sudden, life pokes its heads under your bed covers and says, "I know you are, but what am I?"
Fatigue is not what you think. It's not what you feel after being awake for 40 hours during which you treated your body like a human alcohol dumping ground. It's not what you feel after sitting at a poker table for 13 hours without food. It's not even how you feel the morning after a party hosted by Al Can't Hang. Fatigue is the byproduct of real life.
Most of us live our lives held down by high-test corded guy wire. We don't like it, but we accept it. Without the wires, we would spin out of control like a TV tower in a hurricane. We know we need the help.
But, over time, say the course of a year, those wires get tired. It's different for everybody. And it happens at different times. For me, it was the autumn of 2003. For many people I know, the time is right now. I'm not sure what disturbance has occurred in the force, but it seems I know more people in the middle of Life Fatigue than I know people who are in a good place.
Why bring it up? Well, glad you asked.
The November Slide
Yin and Yang are some confusing bitches. You've likely noted here a spate of tournament results. While obviously not the most informative of postings, they were well-deserved and long overdue wins for the founder of Up For Poker, CJ, and his minions.
And yet, while CJ, Dr. Jeff, and even G-Rob had some wins, the November Slide was hitting the poker blogging community and its readers like never before. Personally, I had the worst poker month of my life and a couple of times actually questioned the legitimacy of the game. I literally laughed out loud in an empty room. It was spooky at times.
And yet, somehow I remained centered. This was in large part to the onslaught of real life November Slides going on around me. While many of you don't know my friends, suffice it to say I've seen some of them endure the worst real life variance swings you can imagine.
One night during the Slide, Mrs. Otis looked at me and asked what was wrong. I almost answered truthfully. I almost told her that in six straight important tournaments, I'd gotten my money in as a huge favorite only to be beaten by incredible two-outers or runner-runner every time. As the words crept to my lips, a sick sense of guilt slipped over me and I realized how selfish I was about to sound.
"Nothing is wrong," I said. Why? Because, really, nothing was wrong.
More outs than doubts
When I busted out of Event #2 of this year's WSOP, my body shut down on me. I fell into a sweating, heaving, malnutrioned mess in my MGM bed. It was getting dark in Vegas and I didn't care if I saw a poker room again for a few days. And yet, I knew the Castle was in need of storming. And so, I went.
Thusly, the Castle endured the Storm, but my mind was elsewhere. Somehow, even drawing to 15 outs didn't get my dander up. I wandered and collected an assembly of bloggers to accompany me to what has become my albatross. Thirty minutes later, I was explaining to Drizz, Spaceman, and Heather that there were a couple of rules to Pai Gow poker that you won't read in Harrington on Pai Gow Vol. 1. First, if the dealer turns up a Pai Gow, you must scream "Pai Gow!" at the top of your lungs and order another drink in celebration. Further, you must smile widely at the people who are losing at roulette and make sure they hear about your good fortune. There is nothing more fun than taunting losing roulette players (redundancy offered for effect there). There were other rules, which I'll outline in a future post. As for strategy, I let Heather take over on that, as, in some remarkable twist of royalty-dubbing, she had recently taken on the name Pai Gow Princess.
We blogger-types have been afforded a tremendous opportunity. Somehow we have stumbled our way into friendships that I would've considered impossible two years ago. It's only been a few months since I had z-e-r-o reservations about welcoming a blogger contingent into my home. The members fit in so smoothly, several times I thought they had been there forever. But, that's not the case. One year ago at this time, I knew the UFP crew and BadBlood. That was it.
My, how times have changed.
You know when you're sitting at some negative EV game and you've got a big stack of reds you don't feel like carrying around? You do the most logical thing and ask the dealer to color you up.
Well, that's sort of how the last year has been. Over the past twelve months, I've been walking around with a bunch of parts of a whole in my mental pocket. And now, for one weekend, I get to color them all up.
In recent days I've gone back and read some of my UFP posts and re-lived some of the great moments I've been afforded. It's solidified something I've come to appreciate.
I am one lucky son of a bitch.
Life is about to get really interesting again. I see more poker in my future. And I see more friends. With my already perfect family life, I couldn't ask for much more.
Some people make lists. Me, I tattoo things on my brain. As we head into the coming week, this is what is inked on my medula oblongata:
You cannot force fun.
You cannot dodge bad luck.
Luck is temporary.